These days, in between finding random activities to occupy my time and having a lot of rest, I’ve also been inspired by many who have overcame personal obstacles in their life and go beyond their limits.
One of whom is Amy Purdy, a double amputee who had lost both of her legs below her knees at 19 yrs old to bacterial meningitis. At that time, she was given less than a 2% chance of survival with respiratory and multiple organ failure. In addition to losing her legs, she also lost her spleen and received a kidney transplant, donated by her father, when she was only 21. Honestly, that’s a lot of hardship for someone so young to go through.
Nonetheless, this determined and spirited lady not only triumphed over adversity but also began to live life with a renewed intensity. Despite the challenges, she went on to win a Bronze medal in the first ever para-snowboarding competition at Sochi Paralympic Winter Games 2014, danced her way to the finale of ‘Dancing With the Stars’ season 18 and even participated in the hit reality series, ‘The Amazing Race’! Wow, impressive! 🙂 Inspired to use her story and life experiences to drive a greater purpose, Amy went on to start Adaptive Action Sports, a nonprofit organization to provide a range of action-sport development programs for people with physical disabilities. This gave the disabled community an opportunity for a new lease of life in the sporting industry. A true example of someone who has fought against life struggles through sheer tenacity and perseverance and inspire millions to live an amazing life beyond limitations.
Of course, if given the chance, I would have reversed the situation and never wish for a broken neck. But you know, this is life … Things change, accidents happen. Two weeks into my neck injury, I suddenly lost a small chunk of my hair; The chunk of hair practically fell out from my head overnight! A visit to the dermatologist confirmed that it was a case of alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease where one’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy hair follicles for no reason. I confess, that was also the only time I cried out loud, Why me? As if it wasn’t already tough dealing with a broken neck, I had to be confronted with the fact that I might possibly suffer from more hair loss and be bald! All of a sudden, I lost the will to fight this battle momentarily and allowed myself to wallow in self-pity. Losing hair was a tough pill to swallow – As superficial as it might sound, most females take pride in our lovely locks and to have that taken away from us, it’s utterly depressing and such a blow to our self-esteem. Honestly, at that point of time, I didn’t think that I would be able to find anyone who will love me anymore because of this bald patch.
Yet, as Amy Purdy said in her TEDx speech, “Our borders and our obstacles can only do two things: (1) stop us in our tracks, or (2) force us to get creative“, I knew that these challenges will not bring me down. Compared to so many others, my problems are just a scratch on the knee. If someone like Amy is able to push through the seemingly impossible and live such a fulfilling life that continues to inspire millions, I shouldn’t let such obstacles stop me in my tracks. If anything,
I’m even more determined to grow from this experience and re-live life with vigor and zest. Two months into the injury, I’m glad to say that my neck has been healing well and surgery is most likely out of the picture. The hair condition has been under control (aka no more new hair loss, yay!) and I’m just waiting, patiently, for the hair to re-grow. Patience, what a hard virtue. There are the good days; and there are the bad days but life’s quite good.
If you have not heard about Amy Purdy, please find some time to watch the video of her motivational speech below. I hope you are as inspired by her as I am. 🙂
“My legs haven’t disabled me; If anything, they have enabled me. They have forced me to rely on my imagination and to believe in the possibilities”
– Amy Purdy